After the kidnapping of four US citizens in Mexico, two of them have been found dead. A woman and a man with an injured leg were rescued alive, the Mexican authorities said.
The security forces found them all in a wooden house near the border town of Matamoros, said the governor of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal. The communications director of the US government's National Security Council, John Kirby, spoke of a "terrible incident". Attacks on US citizens are unacceptable.
The Americans - three men and a woman - were attacked and kidnapped by gunmen in Matamoros on Friday. A suspect who was looking after them was arrested during the deployment of the soldiers and police, Mexican authorities said at a press conference in Mexico City. The reasons for the kidnapping remain unclear. A criminal group may have confused the victims, Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios said. The investigations continued.
Investigations just beginning
The US State Department confirmed the deaths of the two US citizens in Washington and said the other two had since been brought back to the United States. Work is still in progress on repatriating the remains of the two dead, said ministry spokesman Ned Price. The investigation into the case is still in its infancy. According to Kirby, the US government is committed to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.
Matamoros is located in violent Tamaulipas directly across from the Texas city of Brownsville on the Rio Grande River border. The Cártel del Golfo (Cartel of Golf) is particularly active there. According to authorities, a Mexican woman also died as an accidental victim in the incident. A video of the exact time of the kidnapping circulated on social media.
Cosmetic surgery planned
The Americans had crossed the border for a cosmetic operation, the media said, citing relatives, and Mexico confirmed. Authorities said no ransom was demanded for their release.
The US federal police FBI sounded the alarm on Sunday. She offered a $50,000 reward for information about the kidnapping. Before it became clear that the victims were US citizens, local authorities downplayed the attack as an "isolated incident" in gang warfare between rival groups. More than 112,000 people are missing in Mexico.
Mexico has been suffering from a wave of violence for years. Last year, 31,936 homicides were registered in the Latin American country with a population of 126 million. Numerous drug cartels and other criminal groups fight for control of areas of influence and smuggling routes. They often have ties to corrupt politicians and security forces. Most homicides are never solved.